Hades: A short story by Mike Cole

Hell. A place long forgotten, a land of dead Gods. Tales have existed since the dawn of civilization. His search was over; the long forgotten forest had been found. A lifetime of research had led him here, an insignificant forest located on the Underbelly of Volcán Wolf, thought to be the Oceans end. The land was scorched and the ground gave a molten hue. Embers sprinkled the landscape and lava poured from the volcano into the Ocean, creating steam as the heat touched the surface of the water. The sun was beginning to set and as it hit the scattered boulders with a crimson glow, he thought he could very well be among the land of the dead. Night enshrouded the island.

With a torch in hand, he kept moving. He could feel death creeping slowly and every now and again he would see a shadow move out of the corner of his eye. He walked through the charred forest until he reached the cliffside, jagged rocks awaiting him below. He slowly began his descent.

The Ocean greeted him as he walked down the narrow cliffside, finding it strange that a path had seemingly been carved into the rock. Lava began flowing from the cliff above and violently splashed down unto him; he felt a searing pain in his right arm. His flesh began to burn and melt. A wave crashed and his arm turned to steam. When the mist cleared, his arm was bone save for a few tendons still attached. He didn’t much feel the pain, adrenaline having done it’s work. As he got closer to the water, snow began to fall; how odd. Fire and Ice, two entities that typically don’t coexist. The snow swirled, blinding his vision and he awoke in a cold sweat. He did not remember drifting off and the ever present snow was gone; had it only been a dream? The wind whistled in a tone that almost sounded like whispers and rain began to pour; soon, thunder and lightning would follow. He entered a cave near the volcano.

Water fell on his head. It felt warm. As he went to wipe it off it lingered on his hand, refusing to yield. He moved his torch so he could see what appeared to be a red substance, with a smell of iron. He heard rushing water and looked to his right. A red river? He blinked and the water was crystal blue. Was he dreaming or was he awake? Thunder struck outside and the rain howled with the wind. The howling grew louder and louder, no longer seemingly coming from outside but rather deep within the cave. The torch flickered as a gust caught hold and the shadows danced around him. Three heads began to form; the Torch went out and there was silence.


And thus October has begun. As the blog continues to grow, I am grateful for the support. I enjoy writing and have been thrilled my poetry and short stories have been so well received. As I’ve brainstormed ideas for the blog, I decided on a month dedicated to the spooky and supernatural. This will be the first of hopefully many Octobers where I focus on the scary and the beauty of the changing of seasons. I hope you all enjoyed this short story inspired by Greek mythology! As a reminder, if you would like to support me as a creator, below is a link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi pages!

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If you like my content, consider following, liking, and sharing with others who might enjoy. And as always, thanks for reading! What are you most excited about for the month of October? What are you doing to celebrate the season? Let me know in the comments below!

September 2020 update: As the leaves turn

It is officially September, my favorite time of the year! Towards the end of August, nights start to become colder and the leaves begin to rustle, ushering in the month of September. September enjoys a mix of Summer and Autumn and represents a fresh start to the year. Many enjoy Spring, many enjoy Summer, I enjoy the Autumn months. September through November, there could not be a better time. It is also the month I was born, which means it’s a month for reflection and re-balancing.

What’s in Store?

As it stands, this month is going to be a lot of heavy lifting. The blog saw tremendous growth in April and May with June, July, and August being steady. The new format seems to be working well and I enjoy the update post with one to two posts a month format. Sharing, commenting, and liking have all helped the blog grow. I’ve begun to dive into promoting the blog through social media channels and while it is feasible, it will take a concentrated effort on my part to be successful. The other option would be to enlist the help of a colleague to help promote the blog but at the moment I have yet to hear a response.

Patreon

So far, Patreon is going well! I have a couple supporters now and the extra money helps. The goal is to have most money be generated from Ad revenue on the site and to have Patreon there for those who want to provide extra support. Over time, I will start publishing books and the hope is to use the income to live a life where I can choose whether or not I want to work from 9 to 5.

Medium and Outward expansion

Last month I looked into Medium as a potential outlet for other forms of writing such as business, politics, and social issues. While Medium might work for some, I ultimately decided I don’t think it would work for me. My whole approach to my blog has been building a community that will enjoy whatever I choose to write about and Medium has a focus on writing “one stellar article to end all articles”. Over time, you get funneled one direction or the other as the algorithm decides what articles you see. I also realized that while I enjoy reading the New York Times to stay informed, I don’t particularly enjoy talking about politics. They are good to discuss with friends but to dedicate time to writing about them? Not my cup of tea. So WordPress gets my full, undivided attention.

Linkedin

As for my professional career, that has taken a pause at the moment. In college, I thought Linkedin to be the “end all, be all” but to date it has led to zero full-time positions. Writing business related articles on the platform seemed like a great idea a few months back, but ultimately it is a lot of effort for little payoff. Even posting on Linkedin has become a chore. I’ve shifted my focus to more writing oriented roles but it is extremely difficult in this hyper-competitive world we live in. The issue isn’t doing a job and doing it well, it’s that you need a skill set just to get an interview and most desirable roles don’t even get posted in the first place. As such, most of my focus will be on this blog and looking at growth and engagement, so ultimately my frustrations with Linkedin will be a net positive.

The Month Ahead

We will be ramping up! I’ve decided to keep the update simple; it’s either going to be a poem, short story, or article. Typically the posts depend on my mood, so I can’t say what I want quite yet this month. I also think I’ve found a way to write more gaming related articles in the form of Fan Fiction, a subject I never thought I would write but did extremely well with my Stardew Valley article. My other gaming articles didn’t fair so well but that’s expected when coming into your stride. If I do write a Fan Fiction this month, I’ve been playing around with Animal Crossing and am excited just thinking about the potential. I also have some ideas for Chapter four of “New Horizon” so that might come together by the end of the month. No promises but all in all we’re in good shape.


And that’s a wrap! The update for this month was fairly long and I didn’t quite cover everything I had planned. I’m already thinking ahead to October and a spooky theme. Think Mental Health Awareness month except light-hearted and fun. An article a week focused around ghosts and all that goes bump in the night. I think it’ll provide a nice balance between the more serious Mental Health series and the planned Earth Month series (planned for April, although it might conflict with Poetry month). Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

Adventures in Dating: Single be as single does

So, I’ve rewritten this article a couple times now. I thought this article would be easy to write but it turns out not so much. Dating stories are easy; I like talking about meet-cute’s and the occasional drama that comes from dating apps. Talking about being single is a first for me.

The idea popped up in my head about a month ago, when I was sitting alone in my room; I quite enjoy being by myself. I’ve always treating love as an end goal, a destination to reach, not a journey to be had. The most joy from dating I’ve had is where I’ve simply dated. And while it may be cliche, love is about the journey, not the destination. What’s the rush to have a girlfriend? Get married? We’re on this Earth for a decent amount of time and the relaxed approach seems to work best.

I adhere to my own schedule and in the last decade have become fiercely independent thanks to my time spent in college and half a decade spent learning to look inwards for gratification. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from being on your own; you’re in essence, as free as the wind. There are few individuals I have met where I have thought I’ve wanted to spend the rest of my life with them (and I’ve caused knees to buckle since preschool).

The dating climate today is exhausting and quite expensive. Online dating is nigh impossible and takes the fun out of dating altogether; dating was a chore before a Pandemic and having a glass of wine with someone over a zoom call is far different than hitting a nice German bar or going on a hike and having a nice meal afterwards. Bouldering dates are non-existent in this current dating Hell we find ourselves in.

On the eve of my twenty sixth year on Earth, dating has become a minefield. The older I become, the more likely it is women are likely to have been in long term relationships that are now just ending. Those high school sweethearts you thought would be together forever? Turns out, not so much. If I were to enter a relationship, Ideally it’d be two to three years. Children aren’t in the plan and I’ll typically take passion over dedication any day of the week. Dating is about mystery and excitement, marriage is for the good and bad. Could that change over time? Most definitely. But if you’re not enjoying the journey, then it’s not worth your time.

I enjoy flirting. A wink here, a compliment there. When my hair grows long, I like to flick it. Years of perfecting my approach, I am now a master. Most of my charm I owe to my management degree and the rest I owe to practice. This has no relevance to the core of this article, I just wanted to add this part for flare and to emphasize the fact that dating itself can be quite a lot of fun when you’re single. Relationships require a different approach and sacrifice some of the freedom being single affords you; not inherently better or worse, just different.

The point I wanted to touch upon for this article is that it might be better if more people were single for longer. We are born dependent, we become independent and then we become interdependent. If we do not learn to win our private victories, we stay dependent and jumping into a relationship in this state creates a co-dependent relationship. Co-dependence may sound romantic, but it’s not. Ideally, a perfect relationship is two independent individuals coming together and setting goals together while still retaining their individuality; it will not work if one party is dependent. Food for thought but I thought it was worth noting. If you’re in your late twenties and haven’t been in a relationship but have been working on yourself, you’re more than likely to be set up for healthier relationships down the road. That’s not to say young love can’t prevail but should that relationship come to a halt, will you have the skills necessary to pick up the pieces?


And that’s it! Another dating article successfully written. This article took longer than expected but I’m thrilled so many people are enjoying this series. Part of the goal is to transition my article writing to more creative topics that shy away from business and informational topics. Especially now, as the world feels chaotic, I think it’s nice to read something different. I had fun writing the article and hope you enjoy the final product! If you like my content, please consider following the blog, liking, and sharing among your friends. If you want to support me, as a creator, I also have a Patreon and a Ko-Fi. Below is the link:

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Also, feel free to comment below! Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think first love holds true or do you think it’s better to be comfortable in your own skin before taking a dive?

August 2020 update

It’s already August! The month snuck up on me! So, what’s new?

Last Train to the Coast

It was a beach week! I just got back from a five day trip from the beach. I spent most of my time wading through the waves, staying close to shore as I let the tide come and go. In total, I most likely walked 20 or 30 miles during my trip. On Wednesday I took a break and read most of the day, finishing a book I had started months ago and chiseling away at a second one before the trip’s end. I brought my sudoku book and did a couple puzzles here and there, ate some crab, and ultimately, just relaxed. It has been about 3 years since I’ve had a proper vacation and it was a nice change from what has become the Covid grind.

Different Horizons

New Horizons Chapter three is still on it’s way. I had written most of it before July slipped away from me and didn’t have time to publish it before the end of the month. I’m trying to make the series as realistic as possible and there was one part of the story I wanted to rework so it made logical sense. I do not have an ETA on when I’ll get around to finishing the chapter, but my hope is that it will be later this month.

Dating

My Dating articles have been doing surprisingly well. As such the plan for this month is to write another dating relating article focused on my experience being single and how it’s a good thing! Don’t want to give too much away, but I’m excited as I’ve already drafted the key talking points in my head.

Schedule

Given last month, now is the perfect time to once again talk about the schedule for the blog and what I’ve envisioned. As you might know, I have a thousand different projects going on simultaneously. I am walking a fine line between chaos and order. Most of my day is spent coding and learning a foreign language. I am also learning how to podcast and have delved into some painting tutorials as I would love to paint as a way to relax. As such, the schedule for the blog is relatively relaxed. The goal is an update at the beginning of the month and one to two articles. One article I can write but depending on the month two might be a bit much. If I miss an article, the current plan is simply to move it to the next month. Right now, it’s not a terribly big deal but if the blog grows, I want to provide at least the illusion of consistency.


And that’s it! Another month down, about five more to go until twenty twenty is over. It’s already been an exciting year for growth and I’m excited to see what the next couple months bring. If there’s any content that you want to see more of, feel free to let me know! And if you want to support me as a creator, below is a link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi pages:

Support this blog!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!